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 The AWESOME Omni Pad !!!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-06-05 15:27

I have just returned from an audition of an R13 completely repadded using the relatively new Omni Pad.

Just for background: I am looking for an "indestructable," all-weather pad for horns that may be treated in ways that would make a Guantanimo Bay guard blush.

The pads I thought to use first were the Valentinos, which for the most part fit the bill. I have developed some reservations over the years so I was looking for an alternative.

So, first I looked at them. They seat much like a Valentino, that is, the closed keys (mainly the side keys) have well defined grooves already after only being installed for a day. The surface of the pad seems a bit smoother, shinier than the Valentinos ................. what does this mean? more reflective? brighter sound?

Then I did the suction and blow tests on both joints and found they sealed JUST like Valentinos............. like a coke bottle (I love that !!!!).

Upon playing, the sound was BEAUTIFUL !!!! Full sound, not bright at all as I might have thought looking at the pads and not dull or muddy on the trills like the Valentinos.

This clarinet even had the one-and-one Bb pads both Omnied and there didn't seem as though this would be an adjustment problem down the road. This is in part due to the fact that the Omnis have three layers; a plastic backing, a harder foam middle layer, and finally the playing surface foam.

And for you techies, the plastic backing is beveled !!!! This makes installation much easier and much more accurate (than with Valentinos).

Bottom line: these may even turn out to be the ULTIMATE clarinet pad.

Are there any of you out there with any Omni stories you'd care to share?

........................Paul Aviles

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 Re: The AWESOME Omni Pad !!!
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2010-06-05 15:56

A lot of what you found was probably from the clarinet sealing very good (I assume it was) and the larinet itself. I haven't yet tried a clarinet completely with Omni pads but I've tried Omni pads and clarinets partly padded with them.

Omni pads having a more rigid back is an important difference from Valentino pads. It keeps them level.

The shiny surface is just how the sealing layer looks. There is no connection between the effect on tone and the LOOK of the pad. If you found some pads to be dull in trill then most likely they were sealing slowly i.e. they relied on the softness of the pad to seal vs. an imediate seal which is standard for good repairers.

As far as their seats, not really clear from your post how deep they were. But Omni pads are available with two different firmness of foam and several different firmness by different thickness of the foam and back. Naturally the softer ones will have deeper seats. I've tried several different models. The model that is considered by the maker the most standard for Buffet professional clarinets, I found slightly softer than the bladder pads I usually prefer and develops a slightly deeper seat. Not a real issue though.

One issue with installation is that you need to be a bit more careful with heat and don't use a too high temp glue. Bladder and some other pads are fine with pretty high temp as long as the flame isn't direct on the pad to burn it. I found Omnip ads can distort from a temp that would be ok for bladder pads.

I like Omni pads and will continue to use them.

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 Re: The AWESOME Omni Pad !!!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-06-05 16:52

Let me clarify my "reflectivity" theory. I have had experience with clarinets all done in gortex and Straubinger. These clarinets tend to definitely sound brighter. I firmly believe, very much like treatment in an acoustic room, the material (whether a shape difference or material differece) DOES impact the sound separate from the aspect of seal.

I alluded to the dullness of Valentinos. I believe (at least my experience with them has shown) that either the deepness of the seat or the sponginess of the material seems to dampen the sound particularly with respect to the crispness of note to note action of the sidekeys but also with respect to the overall sound (I am VERY picky, and have heretofore preferred the sound of an all corked horn....except the bottom four of course).

Then there is the oddity of the Lucien Deuxe pads of my Yamaha CSG. Either the pastic buttons themselves on each pad provide a clearer sound or the fact that the buttons keep the pads flat. Either way, these pads also sound closest to cork (my favorite.........until now?).

...............Paul Aviles

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 Re: The AWESOME Omni Pad !!!
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2010-06-05 17:54

Maybe I wasn't clear or you misread my post. I never said anything about the material of the pads and any effect this has (or doesn't have) on tone or how the clarinet plays. I said the LOOK of the pad surface doesn't suggest anything.

Re the "crispness of note to note" dampened by Valentino pads, as I said this is a usual effect from the pads not sealing imediately and only eventually (but they do eventually seal completely), which is more common for Valentino pads than several other types of pads. I'm not saying the material doesn't cause this, but this is the most likely reason for this to happen. For some reason many people like to consider the material instead of far more likely technical reasons.

Re the other types of pads you mentioned and their effects, I've compared many clarinets of the same model with bladder and goretex pads. My conclusion was no conclusion. That is, there was no clear difference as a result of the pads (i.e. the clarinets varies similarly regardless of the pads).

If you consider affects from the firmness of the Omni pads then as I said they have several models with different firmness.

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 Re: The AWESOME Omni Pad !!!
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-06-05 18:42

Time will tell.

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 Re: The AWESOME Omni Pad !!!
Author: GLHopkins 
Date:   2010-06-05 21:35

I don't like them, but I'm not going to dispute the glowing reviews by those that do. It's their business.

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 Re: The AWESOME Omni Pad !!!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-06-05 21:57

Dear Mr. GLHopkins,

PLEASE expound upon that thought. I have NOT installed them on any horns yet, so I would LOVE to know what negative experiences are out there to temper my enthusiasm.

Also, Clarnibass, I was wondering if standing in the sun in 120 degree heat (Iraq) would cause an unsettling of the glue that you recommend for these pads?


.............................Paul Aviles

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 Re: The AWESOME Omni Pad !!!
Author: GLHopkins 
Date:   2010-06-06 00:00

Paul, they seal well, and in my opinion they are easy to install if you're working with decent tone holes. I've used French creme stick and orange shellac stick to install them, and have had no real problem. The keys that are sprung closed feel ok and are quieter than cork pads. The thing I don't care for is the feel of the ring keys and the bottom two keys on the right (E/B, F/C), and to me there is a sound difference that bothers me even though others say they don't perceive any difference in sound from across the room.

I've used Omnis to repad my beater E&S that I keep at the shop to loan out to customers when their horn's in for repair. Nobody's commented on it one way or the other, so I guess it's working well for those that play it. I guess I'm such a big fan of cork pads that nothing else suits me.

Post Edited (2010-06-06 00:03)

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 Re: The AWESOME Omni Pad !!!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-06-06 13:44

Dear GLHopkins,


I had only spent a few minutes on this set up and was looking for things that I had experienced in the past to rule things out or be duly impressed.

There was a little (perhaps?) hesitation of the trills on first right finger (Bb-C/F-G), and low E to G (maybe).

Could there be a slight tendency for the surface of the pad to want to adhere to the tone hole?

.....................Paul Aviles

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 Re: The AWESOME Omni Pad !!!
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-06-06 14:18

Some shiny synthetic coated or plastic coated leather pads will have the tendency to cling to wet or sticky toneholes. Remember the Buffet B10s fitted with Valentinos back in the late '90s? Another thing some very soft synthetic pads will do is to mould themselves to the shape of the tonehole bedplace and also into the tonehole.

While having a larger surface area to seat onto is a good thing for an airtight seal when using soft marshmallow-like pads, that also increases the chances of sticking. You only want the pad to seal at the crown of the tonehole bedplace, not act like a marshmallow and engulf the entire area and also bulge into the tonehole.

So if I was to use a synthetic pad, I'd prefer it to be firm like cork so it sits onto the tonehole bedplace instead of sinking into it, and for it not to become sticky through humidity/condensation. I wouldn't mind trying out Omni pads to see how they perform long term.


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